science education resource

For K-12 Students • Educators • Homeschool Families • Naturalists

Energy Flow Between Organisms - Reading and Diagram (6-8 Grade NGSS)

To view these resources with no ads, please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site).

Plants, algae, and other tiny microorganisms, all depend on sunlight, which they use to produce food. They absorb sunlight, take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and water from their environment. With them, they produce sugars that fuel their every day bodily functions or are stored for later when needed for growth, repair, and reproduction. This is a chemical process called photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, the organisms also release oxygen into the atmosphere.

These organisms which use photosynthesis to make fuel have specialized organelles called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts contain a green pigment, called chlorophyll which traps the light energy needed for photosynthesis. The cells that contain the most chloroplasts are on the upper surface of the organisms, exposed to the sun. The energy absorbed by the chlorophyll changes carbon dioxide and water into sugars, which the plants use, and oxygen, which the plant releases. Photosynthesis is essentially:
 
light + water + carbon dioxide (CO2) = sugars + oxygen (O2)

Plants, algae and other photosynthetic microorganisms, in turn, are consumed by animals (and other organisms). Animals digest and break down this food to use as fuel for their own bodily functions, growth and reproduction.

In this way, the energy of the sun is converted by plants (and other photosynthetic organisms) into fuel that most animals (and other consumer organisms), in millions of food webs all over Earth, can use to survive. The process also releases vital oxygen into the atmosphere.

Energy Flow Between Organisms Reading
Energy Flow Between Organisms Diagram

To view these resources with no ads, please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site).

Citing Research References

When you research information you must cite the reference. Citing for websites is different from citing from books, magazines and periodicals. The style of citing shown here is from the MLA Style Citations (Modern Language Association).

When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access < URL >.

Here is an example of citing this page:

Amsel, Sheri. "Energy Flow Between Organisms - Reading and Diagram (6-8 Grade NGSS)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2021. October 23, 2021
< http://www.exploringnature.org/db/view/Energy-Flow-Between-Organisms-Reading-and-Diagram-6-8-Grade-NGSS >

Exploringnature.org has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.